Tag Archives: abstinence

Book Review: Alex Korb’s The Upward Spiral

Posted on November 7, 2017

Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, 2015, 225 pp.

Review by Ted Alston, facilitator

Bad feelings and bad habits fly together, and evasive maneuvers for one may serve for both. Accordingly, students of SMART Recovery may enjoy this book that addresses depression. Alex Korb, PhD, is an expert on neurotransmission, but he presents a model permitting self-management and and self-empowerment to have roles in mental health. In this model. a prescriber might help someone with a medication molecule that modulates neurotransmission, but readers have the power to choose other reasonable tactics that are non-pharmacological but have neurotransmission aspects.

Korb puts forth the important and attractive concept that neuroscience does not doom anyone to depression or addiction, nor to various other conditions with labels. He emphasizes that we all have pretty much the same instrument of thought and behavior. Whatever genetic or experiential differences may be, the troubled brain is usually out of tune rather than defective. Korb has a gift for analogy, and I do not want to spoil the encounters of his readers with those gems, but I will mention one. I liked when he said, “There’s nothing wrong with your brain, just like there’s nothing wrong with the air in Oklahoma–despite the devastating tornados.” This excerpted quote might seem inscrutable, but Korb’s full argument is easy to follow.

Korb offers much advice that is in line with the philosophies of SMART tools. For instance, a section of Chapter 2 is subtitled “The ABCs of Anxiety.” The Korb ABC is different from that of Albert Ellis, but it rhymes. One could delete all of the neuroscience from the Korb book and be left with a practical and reasonable pamphlet collating many SMART concepts. However, Korb offers a lot more than that. His every point includes a rationale based on what is known about neuroanatomy and neurophysiology. The book is intended for a broad audience, so the science depth is limited. However, the work is a superb introduction to neuroscience. Even a professional neuroscientist might appreciate the book for Korb’s power of explication. Continue reading

Is SMART Recovery® a Moderation Organization?

Posted on March 28, 2017

By Tom Horvath Ph.D., Lorie Hammerstrom, and Brett Saarela, LCSW

choices

SMART Recovery® supports (1) abstinence from any substance or activity addiction and (2) going beyond abstinence to lead a meaningful and satisfying life. Our 4-Point ProgramSM addresses addiction itself (Points 1 and 2) and quality of life (Points 3 and 4). Points 3 and 4 are the primary focus of discussion in many meetings. To remind you, Point 1 focuses on motivation to abstain; Point 2 on coping with craving; Point 3 on problem solving (when practical problems can be resolved) and emotional self-management (when practical problems may not be “solvable”); and Point 4 on building a life of enduring satisfactions (a meaningful and purposeful life).

SMART Recovery® encourages attendance by individuals in any stage of recovery. Those maintaining long-term abstinence will likely be most interested in discussions of Points 3 and 4. Those in early recovery will likely pay more attention to Points 1 and 2. SMART Recovery® recognizes that individuals may be in different stages of change, at any one time, across what is likely to be a range of addictive behaviors. For example, one participant may be ready to stop drinking but not ready to stop smoking. Another participant may be ready to quit cocaine but not ready to quit marijuana. Both participants may be drinking excessive caffeine and overeating, and be unaware that these are also addictive behaviors.

Continue reading

Addiction, Recovery and Transformation

Posted on May 10, 2016

By Tracey Helton Mitchell, author of “The Big Fix; Hope After Heroin

traceyWbookRecovery is not a sprint, it is a marathon. What this implies is that we use the tools at our disposal to plan for the long journey away from substances and into a new life. Putting down the drugs and alcohol is only the start. We have to find the motivation to press on. We have to cope with our urges to give in or give up. We have to push out negativity as we deal with the flood of emotions as we push forward. Finally, we have to find a way to accept ourselves and our limitations as human beings. SMART Recovery is a four point program that logically allows a person to plot their course along this journey. It allows for participants to move at their own pace, evaluating their own goals and their own reasons for change. Continue reading

Promoting Positive Thinking

Posted on April 25, 2016

It’s not so much what you see, but how you see it.

That’s called your perspective.

Things are not always as they seem.

My mom told me as a child “Believe nothing you hear and half what you see”

storm_smartblogYour brain will try to make sense of everything that is going on around you, and collectively organize it, compare it to your past experiences,  and then catalog it.

Things that are in similar to each other are put into the same category in your brain. Your brain becomes wired… negative thinking, equals negative outcomes, positive thinking equals positive outcome.

Lets look at it like a storm, you see the lighting and then anticipate the thunder, or thunder with lighting, and foremost get startled. Our neurotransmitters in the brain travel at 268 miles an hour, that’s 10 times faster than an olympic runner. Continue reading

Three Things

Posted on March 29, 2016

Part 1: Commitment to Sobriety

By Jim (GJBXVI) Braastad

Green Carabine with White Ropes on Sky Background, Symbolizing the CommitmentWhile meandering around the SMART Recovery community website (SROL), I came across the following tidbit of information:

Scientific research shows that people who have recovered successfully (regardless of the method used) all have three things in common, those being: 

  • A commitment to sobriety; 
  • A change in lifestyle; and 
  • They prepare and plan for urges.

I believe the need for each these three things to be true. While each of them is important in the big picture, I think the “commitment to sobriety” is listed first for a reason. Continue reading

What is SMART Recovery?

Posted on March 21, 2016

A visual overview

What is SMART Recovery? We’re so glad you asked!

Check out this terrific visual overview created just for us by RehabCenter.net


RehabCenter.net provides an online comprehensive guide to rehab centers and addiction treatment options. We’re grateful to them for preparing this infographic which so clearly answers the question “What is SMART Recovery!” Continue reading